Previously: The Crooked Man.
Type: MO (Malevolent Object).
Period/location of origin: Somewhat unknown. Subject, a set of cursed or haunted bunk beds, surfaced in the late 1980s in southeast Wisconsin — specifically in 1987 in or near Horicon, a small city in Dodge County located about 60 miles northwest of Milwaukee. However, subject is noted as having been acquired by its target at that time in a “second-hand” state. It is unclear how much older than 1987 subject may be, or where it truly originated.
Appearance: Subject appears to be a set of bunk beds intended to sleep up to two children. However, the precise make of subject is unknown. It is often depicted as made of wood and slightly rustic in style — but only subject’s last targets know for certain what subject’s appearance truly is.
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They do not appear to be interested in discussing the matter.
Modus operandi: Subject presents itself as an unassuming piece of furniture ideal for a family with young children. This presentation draws in targets, who may, based on subject’s seeming usefulness, purchase subject and bring it home with them.
Once subject has arrived in targets’ home, targets will begin experiencing odd, unusual, and frightening activity and events which escalate in severity over time. This activity may include:
- Electronic devices turning on and off or changing channels/frequencies of their own accord;
- Objects moving under their own steam;
- Doors opening and closing on their own;
- And, eventually, the appearance of apparitions, entities, disembodied voices, and strange fogs or mists floating about the home. The apparitions or entities have been described as old women with long, black hair and a fiery glow and a living flame with green eyes, among others. The disembodied voices may be heard to say things such as, “Come here” — presumably to draw targets into range — and “You’re dead.”
The home’s occupants may also find themselves falling ill with a greater degree of frequency than they have historically been known to.
Note that according to some reports, the activity will only begin once subject has been slept in by targets — that is, its mere presence may not be sufficient to trigger the activity. Further research is required to determine whether or not this is ultimately the case — or whether it even matters — although such research is unlikely to occur. (See: Containment.)
Subject’s primary goal has not been determined. It may be to run targets out of their home, although to what end remains a puzzle; precisely what a set of bunk beds may do with an entire home lacking in any other residents is unknown.
However, it is also possible that subject’s primary goal is to… consume targets in some way, shape, or form.
Subject did not manage to accomplish this potential goal during its last encounter with a family of targets. As such, this possibility is conjecture only.
However, it should be noted that this family acquired subject as a pre-owned item.
Nothing about the prior owners is known — including their eventual fate.
Containment: Subject is known to be generally unresponsive to common methods of containment, including holy blessings and visits from local law enforcement.
However, in 1988, subject was removed from its then-targets’ household and buried deep in a landfill in an undisclosed location in Wisconsin.
This appears to have been an effective method of containment, as subject has not been seen or heard from since.
Additional Notes: Subject’s last known targets were the Tallman family of Horicon, Wisconsin. Targets first encountered subject in 1987; six months later, the targets had fled their home and disposed of subject in a way they hoped would prevent anyone else from ever encountering it again.
The Tallmans purchased a house on Larabee Street in Horicon in November of 1986. The house was quite a new construction, having been built in 1984. The family — parents Deborah and Allen and first two children, then later three, all under the age of eight — moved in, and for a time, life was rosy. In 1987, however — February according to some reports, August or thereabouts according to others — the family purchased a set of bunk beds at a second-hand store in Horicon for $100 (equivalent to about $240 in 2021).
They brought the beds home.
They assembled them in the basement.
And later, after their third child had arrived, they moved them upstairs.
The beds, of course, were subject.
The Tallman’s two youngest children, both girls, shared subject, while their oldest, a boy, had his own room. But after the children began actually sleeping in the beds, the entire family began experiencing the activity characterizing subject’s MO.
After several months of increasingly severe activity, the family called in a pastor to bless the house. Police were also called, and the home searched for electronic devices and other equipment that might be used to subject the family to an elaborate prank. The blessing was ineffectual, and no electronic devices were located.
Following an evening in early 1988 in which a relative caring for the children while the Tallmans were working late witnessed one of the apparitions frequently seen in the home, the family fled the house. They did not return except to retrieve their belongings — minus subject.
According to news reports dated February 1988, the Tallmans had subject “buried … in a landfill where nobody will ever build” one Saturday that month. “They took them out there are plowed them under,” Deborah Tallman told reporters.
The family spent several weeks living in a motel, after which they relocated to a house their church provided to them while they looked for a new permanent home. The house on Larabee Street which they had vacated was later purchased by another family in April of 1988.
There is some debate about whether subject was truly responsible for the activity, or whether it was actually the house itself. It is generally accepted that the activity did not begin until after the arrival of subject, but no one — not even the Tallmans — can say for sure whether it was the beds, the house… or both. It is also unknown whether the bunk beds were cursed, or whether they were haunted.
Regardless, the Tallmans covered all their bases when they both vacated the house and disposed of subject. Neither they nor the family who moved into their former home reported experiencing any other activity.
The Tallmans’ plight led to the production of an episode of Unsolved Mysteries based on their experiences. The episode aired on Oct. 26, 1988.
Subject also bears some similarities with the 2016 story “Bunkmates,” related at the Ghost In The ‘Burbs blog and accompanying podcast. This story ostensibly takes place in Wellesley, Massachusetts; given that Ghosts In The ‘Burbs masterfully blurs the line between reality and fiction, however, it is unclear whether the bunk beds at the center of this story are entirely different bunk beds than subject, or whether they were simply inspired by subject.
They are, at least, unlikely to be subject itself.
Subject, as far as anyone knows, is still buried wherever the Tallmans directed it to be.
Recommendation: Do not go searching for subject.
Some things are better left undisturbed.
“Haunted House To Be Sold; Beds Buried In Landfill” (Feb. 19, 1988) via UPI.
“Haunted House To Be Sold” (Feb. 20, 1988) via UPI.
[Photo via Faruk Tokluoğlu/Pexels]